Web Connected Printers – The Future of Printing

by Rich on September 4, 2009

Many computer users have always believed it was just a matter of time before everyone was able to print directly from the internet. Instead of needing a computer or handheld device to act as the go-between, a person would use only their printer to find a website and print the needed information. This technology now exists, and while it is still limited, it offers users a chance to utilize convenient printing.

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Web connected printers are great for small business. They feature a reasonably sized touch screen monitor and are often multifunctional. Most are capable of printing, faxing, copying, and scanning. The most common options are inkjet printers, but if the market dictates, other options may be developed.

Printers that are able to connect directly to the internet are very specialized. Before purchasing your web connected printer, think carefully about the uses you have in mind for it. If there are specific websites from which you plan to print on the regular basis, be sure the brand of printer you choose is capable of supporting those sites. Keep in mind that certain brands of printers are only capable of supporting certain sites. For instance, the HP Photosmart Premium W-C is able to print movie tickets and news content, but it can only do so from the Fandago movie tickets website. You can view and print Google maps and directions, which is a very convenient feature of the web connected printers, but you will not be able to print directions from Yahoo or Mapquest.com. Those that choose an HP web connected printer can upload photos to their Snapfish account, but would not be able to use other photo sharing sites like Flickr.

Online Printing

Another convenient use for web connected printers is coupons. Imagine shopping when you remember you have left your neatly organized coupon envelope at home. However, if you own a web connected printing device and you have it with you, you can print coupons directly from coupon sites while at the store. Never again will you pay full price for an item if a coupon is available online. Keep in mind though, the brand of your web connected printer will determine which coupon site you have access to. In the case of an HP printer, Coupons.com will be your only option.

Obviously, this exclusivity is one of the biggest complaints concerning these printers. It could be temporary though, so people are still hoping that web connected printers will one day have access to the entire internet, regardless of their maker. Not only do the printers block third party applications, there are limits on file sizes. This is to be expected, but the limitations may not work for everyone. Be sure to research your specific printer before making your choice. Also keep in mind that as need for printing documents decreases, you may find that a web connected printer is not a smart long term investment.

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None the less, these devices offer a number of great features for an independent gadget. You are no longer dependent on a computer to print internet documents. For those on the go that find themselves in need of paper copies of documents and features of websites, you can be efficient by only carrying one device.

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